Working On Someone Else’s Canvas

Although it feels like all of our modern state of content demands it, I’m not great at binging things. Should my focus be held on a single storyline for anything longer than an hour, I’d rather watch a movie. I like to space things out and let things bother me. The space between volumes is where appreciation grows.  Even if an entire series is lined up, ready to be wolfed down in a single sitting, doing so always leaves me wrung out dry and feeling negative about whatever I watched.

We could only watch Breaking Bad one episode at a time because EVERY episode was so damn epic. We took Atlanta in one episode at a time because while there are plot throughlines, every episode was so different they each needed time to grow in my head.

Russian Doll was a reminder of the wrung-out feeling. The 30-minute episodes were just enough to pack two into an evening and the experience still proved exhausting. The very concept of the show necessitates it. Without spoilers: Nadia dies, a lot. Every time she dies she wakes up in the same bathroom of the same loft that is hosting her 36th birthday party. The same song plays, the same guests run into her, the same storyline plays out until she dies again. The point of the show is in the why. Why does this keep happening? What is it going to take to unravel this mystery? Why is the thing called Russian Doll (possible spoiler behind that link)?

Having two fingers of whiskey allows you to appreciate the peats, the smells, the flavors, the stories. Having five in a row diminishes a lot of that experience. There is value in letting that space back in. Sure, giving yourself time between episodes may let spoilers slip in. We have a list of friends who watch pretty much everything as soon as it comes out, we avoid social situations with most of them until we feel comfortably caught up with whatever show we’re on. Space allows for healthy speculation and a chance to review the clues showrunners drop in stories like Russian Doll – an opportunity to exercise your imagination on someone else’s canvas – what’s not to love?

When everything is done and watched can dive into the creator’s past and learn all about the source material for the show. After all, isn’t it wonderful that the showrunners can bring to life one story, everyone else can draw conclusions about another, all while no one ever really lands on the accurate question of “what does it all mean?”



David Pennington
David Pennington

Writing would be great if it weren't the only thing I knew how to do. I publish as much as I can, you'll just have to wait for the rest.  

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